The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law (Galatians 5:19-23).
There is an old Cherokee legend that is loaded with truth. It goes like this: Once, and old man and his grandson were walking through the woods when the grandfather turned to the young man and said, “Young one, inside all of us there is a battle raging between two wolves. You have felt it even in your young years, and I have felt it all my life. One of the wolves is evil – he is anger, envy, greed, regret, arrogance, resentment, lies, hatred, and ego. The other is good – he is love, joy peace, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, generosity, compassion, truth and faith. Everyone has this battle going on inside them.”
They walked a little further in silence, until the young boy stopped and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf will win?” The wise, old man simply replied, “The one you feed.”
In some earlier verses (vs. 16-18), Paul tells us to “walk by the Spirit and the we will not gratify the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other.” So, the question is, will we feed the Spirit or will we feed the flesh? That is a question that is easy to discern. What fruit categorizes your life: the fruit of the Spirit, or the fruit of the flesh? Consider the two list of fruits Paul mentions in this passage:
1. Fruit produced by the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21):
• Sexual immorality
• fits of rage
• selfish ambition
• factions and envy
• and the like
2. Fruit produced by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22):
Would the people around you say they see more of List #1 or List #2 in your life? Be honest. Think deeeeeeply. Are you feeding the flesh or are you feeding the Spirit? Which list best characterizes your life? What fruit needs some cultivation in your life?